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US$19.9 million IFAD-supported project will create jobs in rural Upper Egypt

Release number IFAD/19/07

Rome, 7 March 2007 – A new development project will help create about 30,000 jobs, establish 44,000 small and micro enterprises and make financial services available to 200 small businesses in poor rural areas of Upper Egypt.

The US$19.9 million Upper Egypt Rural Development Project will be partly financed by a loan of US$15.1 million and a grant of US$950,000 from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). The loan and grant agreement was signed today by Ashraf Rashed, Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt, and Lennart Båge, President of IFAD.

The Government of Egypt will contribute US$3.7 million to finance the project.

Although agriculture has been a key economic sector for generations in Egypt, most of the country’s poor people live in rural areas. Project activities will focus on enabling small farmers and producers to set up marketing associations, improving people’s access to microfinance services and strengthening farmers’ access to markets.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation of Egypt and the Social Fund for Development (SDF) will manage the project. The SFD is an organization established by Egypt’s government and funded by several donors.

Project participants will include small farmers, landless labourers, unemployed young people and women who head households. The project will offer special support to women to enable them to form community-based associations for livestock and handicraft production.

One of the project’s main aims is to establish or strengthen about 100 community development associations, 125 farmers’ marketing associations and 75 craftworkers’ associations. Through these associations, poor rural people will gain better access to training and market information, develop the ability to form partnerships with commercial banks, and become more competitive.

“The Upper Egypt region has the largest concentration of poor people in Egypt,” says IFAD’s country programme manager for Egypt, Abdelhamid Abdouli.

“However, it has great potential for producing high-value crops and livestock products and the government has made the region a priority for development.”

With this project, IFAD has financed nine projects in Egypt since 1980 with a total investment of US$190.1 million.

For more information contact
Farhana Haque-Rahman
Chief, Media Relations, Special Events and Programmes
Tel: +39 0654592485
Tel: +39 0654592215
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IFAD is a specialized agency of the United Nations dedicated to eradicating poverty and hunger in rural areas of developing countries. Through low-interest loans and grants, it develops and finances projects that enable poor rural people to overcome poverty themselves. There are 185 ongoing IFAD-supported rural poverty eradication programmes and projects, totalling US$6.1 billion. IFAD has invested US$2.9 billion in these initiatives. Cofinancing has been provided by governments, beneficiaries, multilateral and bilateral donors and other partners. At full development, these programmes will help nearly 77 million poor rural women and men to achieve better lives for themselves and their families. Since starting operations in 1978, IFAD has invested US$9.5 billion in 732 programmes and projects that have helped more than 300 million poor rural men and women achieve better lives for themselves and their families. Governments and other financing sources in the recipient countries, including project participants, have contributed US$9.1 billion, and multilateral, bilateral and other donors have provided another US$7.1 billion in cofinancing.

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